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Hear me or DIE BY MY HAND. - 98%

Immortally_Insane, July 4th, 2012

Sabaton is a Swedish, heavy-power metal band that has really seemed to take the heavy metal world by storm over the past few years. Sabaton is well known for their well-written concept albums, usually about wars from all periods of time, including my personal favorite The Art of War stemming from Sun Tzu’s writings. If you haven’t heard Sabaton’s music and as you sit here reading this think “Oh they’re power metal? That’s not heavy enough for me.” Well you’re wrong. Sabaton has always been my “gateway band” so to speak, to get my friends who think they hate power metal, to actually appreciate what power metal is about. So please, give this album a chance.

You might be thinking, Wow, Carolus Rex? That’s been out for months now, they’re a little late jumping on that bandwagon? Well you’re right, we are. This review was out of my reach for a while, but now that it’s come to my attention, I want nothing more than to publish this! I wanted to hear this album ever since I saw them live and got to hear a “sneak peak” and fell in fucking love. But hey, it’s worth the wait and I’m sure you’re all dying to hear what I have to say… right??

Well if you didn’t know, Sabaton had a VERY rocky year, since almost half of the band left. Some band members were said to be tired of constantly touring, and left the band very suddenly. Immediately the band found replacements and used recordings of keyboard parts to finish their current tour. Now however the band is complete again and with the release of Carolus Rex, is back in at full swing. This album is as strong and catchy as ever, in true Sabaton style. There isn’t a single thing I would change or criticize, I’d almost say this is my favorite album of theirs… and I am shocked to say that but I think I found something I like more than The Art of War.

There were two different releases of this material, an English version, and a Swedish version. I love the fact that they put out both to please both sides of the coin here. I will be reviewing the English version, because well… as sad as I am to admit it, I don’t speak Swedish, and though the music is badass, I really like to sing along. No one wants to hear me try to sing in Swedish. (I try to sing along with Rhapsody of Fire when they break into Italian but ugh… that ends horribly.) The album is another concept album written about the Swedish Empire. They actually had help from well-known Swedish historian Bengt Liljegren on some song lyrics. So you know it’s good!

As the album starts off, after a short intro, with The Lion from the North, upon first listen I immediately knew that my Sabaton was BACK, and I had nothing to worry about. The fucking drive and gallop in this song is amazing, with great pounding drums, fast guitars and bass, and Joakim belting his heart out on vocals. Gott Mit Uns, was the slogan of the Swedes in their 30 Year War, and means “God with Us”. This song is my favorite on the album, as it reminds me of my favorite album, The Art of War. The atmosphere on the song is like a bright fanfare, but has some undertones of anger… and it sounds just perfect.

There are moments on this album that quite literally take my breath away. The intro and chorus in A Lifetime of War are quite certainly the highpoints on the album for me. When I heard the intro for the first time I literally pictured myself in the helicopter flying to Jurassic Park and seeing the island for the first time… so that’s a cheesy fucking reference but that intro is just so epic. I could just listen to that on repeat for the rest of my life and be completely content. Then we have the chorus, which I believe is also from the 30 Year War:

“Has man gone insane?
A few will remain,
Who’ll find a way to live one more day,
Through decades of war.
It spreads like disease.
There’s no sign of peace.
Religion and greed cause millions to bleed.
Three decades of war.”

Oh my god, thank you Sabaton. Thank you for making my life just now in that chorus.

As the album continues, Killing Ground really stuck out to me because of the sheer guttural vocals that Joakim uses. Okay so he’s not growling, BUT it’s not too often you hear him in his lower octaves. He sounds just as good! But all in all, the musicianship and production of this album, in my opinion is the best yet. The drums, the bass, the keys, the guitar… the lyrics! They’re all spot on. It’s a perfect mix, and for once in power metal I’m not sitting here saying “NEEDS MORE BASS!” because I can actually hear it! Every chorus in every song is strong and catchy, and makes me want to suit up in my best armor and fight for the Swedes! CHEERS SABATON!

[Originally written for themetalreview.com]